Memphis Police officers are investigating a potential sexual assault after a group of boys broadcast themselves allegedly having sex with a fifteen-year-old girl on Facebook Live.
The footage was reportedly broadcast from both a local park and inside a vehicle, and the live show gathered more than 18,000 viewers and 200 shares.
“I’m just sitting there watching. I heard a girl say ‘record me, record me’… I’m like ‘aw man, they must be fixing to do something,’” said local Derrior Demuney, who allegedly witnessed the event.
“I hear a boy saying ‘yeah, we live. We turnt up’… I’m just looking. I’m like ‘they fixing to do something they got no business doing’ and they did. They did what they did,” he claimed.
As well as confirming that the victim looked very young, Demuney also added that it looked like the girl had special needs.
Though the police are currently investigating the perpetrators, University of Memphis Law Professor Steve Mulroy claims that those who watched, shared, or took pictures of the incident online may also face criminal action under child pornography laws.
“The law makes it clear that not only is it illegal to create child porn, sell it, buy it, or to distribute it,” said Mulroy. “It’s also illegal just to possess child porn.”
“It’s sad. It’s really sad,” said local Arkisha Martin. “I feel for the parent of the young lady and I feel for her too… You [boys] ruined this young lady’s life. Whether she was disabled or not disabled, you ruined her life. She will never be able to come back from this, and I hope you won’t either… Whether it was consensual or not, you’re going to be considered a pedophile after this, and that’s going to live with you for the rest of your life.”
“To share it and think it’s OK, it’s cool, they’re just as perverted and messed up in the head as the ones that did it,” Martin said of those who watched the livestream. “You don’t want that to happen to another child. If you go live with this one, somebody else is going to see this video, someone else is going to feel like it’s OK to go live with their videos.”
In response to the incident, the local GRAD Academy Memphis sent out a letter to parents and guardians of students at the school.
Dear GRAD Academy Memphis Parent(s)/Guardian(s):
We are writing to share with you an update about an incident involving a scholar of GRAD Academy Memphis. The staff of GRAD Academy Memphis was informed of the off-campus sexual assault of a female scholar late evening of Thursday, August 18, 2016. As is our legal obligation, our staff contacted the Memphis Police Department to share the information. We were also in contact with the family of the scholar after having informed law enforcement to ensure the family was aware of this matter.
Our staff is fully cooperating with authorities to ensure we are doing all we can legally do to support this investigation while being thorough, swift, and truly respectful of the privacy of this scholar and the family.
Keeping your children and our scholars safe while at school is our top priority, and we are committed to doing what we are legally obligated and allowed beyond that time. Working together, we can continue to provide our scholars with the safety and support needed.
Should you have questions or suggestions about any aspect of this letter or anything with respect to GRAD Academy Memphis, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the leadership team.
Memphis Police are still investigating the incident, and have not yet charged anyone related to the case.